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"American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

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"American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Old 09-23-13, 12:37 AM
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"American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4





American Mary (2012)



Selected by Darkgod



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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.
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Last edited by Chad; 09-27-13 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:32 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Jeez, this movie has icky all over it. This movie contains two things that make me feel the most icky - surgery and rape. Ugh.

But a great performance by the lead actress (loved seeing the Ginger Snaps chick in something new), a probable, creepy script and several uncomfortable scenes sucked me in. I really enjoyed (if you can call it "enjoy") the film. Good effects and some genuine uncomfortable, eerie moments.

My rating: **** out of *****
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Old 10-03-13, 02:48 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I liked it a lot. I wish Katherine Isabelle got more work, she's been great in genre films. It's definitely torture porn on some level. My review with complete 1080P screenshots:

http://www.doblu.com/2013/06/21/american-mary-review/
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Old 10-03-13, 03:27 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Nice review Phantom! I totally agree with you about the video quality of the film. It looks like a bigger than its budget picture since the video is so slick looking. Agree on the camera work as well.

Any idea what the budget was?
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Old 10-03-13, 05:24 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Not really a review on this film, but for those wishing Katherine Isabelle got more work, you are in luck. She is teaming up again with the directors of American Mary, the Soska Twins, as well as Danielle Harris, in the See No Evil 2 film and they got to same special props people from American Mary to do See No Evil 2. Seems like WWE really allowed the Soska's full reign in the film.
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Old 10-04-13, 12:38 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I truly enjoyed this. It was super creepy, but also taught me all about the body modification world. It reminded me some of Hostel, but with a rape/revenge angle. Sort of a glitzier (can't think of a better word to describe it - shinier?) I Spit on Your Grave. Regardless, it was a great watch.

After watching it, I was like, maybe this is my new horror thing, interest, whatever - body horror/torture porn. I always liked Saw, Hostel, stuff like that. Then I watched The Human Centipede and yup, nope, never mind. Gag.
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Old 10-04-13, 02:26 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
Nice review Phantom! I totally agree with you about the video quality of the film. It looks like a bigger than its budget picture since the video is so slick looking. Agree on the camera work as well.

Any idea what the budget was?
It probably only cost a couple of million to make. Independent filmmakers can make quality-looking movies now for very cheaply with the right cinematographer and the latest digital cameras.
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Old 10-04-13, 07:15 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Yeah, PCBreakdown, this definitely gave a glimpse into the body modification phenomena. Outside of a story on the local news a couple years ago about a couple people dying as a result of treatment at an underground facility, I had never really heard much about it in real life. I have been trying to follow along with the subset films to try to broaden my horizons to things I might not otherwise watch. I enjoyed this film a lot more than I actually thought I would. I generally avoid torture porn type stuff, but this sorta seemed like torture porn light so it didn't really creep me out all that much. I don't think I will go much further down that road though.
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Old 10-04-13, 08:59 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Great review PS! I'll just echo some of the above in that I thought it looked great and I enjoyed the story despite usually hating "torture porn" films. It was a great choice, as mentioned, since it opens us up to a subgenre/world that many of us probably knew little about.

I also immediately followed it up with Human Centipede, and ick.
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Old 10-04-13, 10:33 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Now if that wasn't a Rob Zombie directed movie of an adapted screenplay by David Cronenberg of a Clive Barker novel, I don't know what is.
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Old 10-04-13, 10:38 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by cproaps View Post
Now if that wasn't a Rob Zombie directed movie of an adapted screenplay by David Cronenberg of a Clive Barker novel, I don't know what is.
oddly the director's give homage to Eli Roth at the end of the credit crawl - when in my opinion the movie felt more like Clive Barker by way of Nip/Tuck...

I winced in some of the incision scenes.
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Old 10-04-13, 10:52 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by Giles View Post
oddly the director's give homage to Eli Roth at the end of the credit crawl - when in my opinion the movie felt more like Clive Barker by way of Nip/Tuck...

I winced in some of the incision scenes.
In what way did they pay homage? Eli is a huge supporter and I think first noticed the Soska Sisters, but must not have paid attention to the end of the credit crawl.
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Old 10-04-13, 10:54 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I found American Mary to be entertaining but also a little disappointing. Some of the body modification emphasis seemed a little pretentious playing up the "extreme" for shock rather than anything that felt sincere or relevant to the plot and sometimes it was hard to suspend disbelief (limb exchange?). The whole movie felt a lot like hanging out at a bar; aimless, slow, and raunchy. Not necessarily a bad thing - the methodical pacing created an odd sort of casual vibe to the proceedings that was enjoyable (someone compared this to American Psycho and I think the casual violence is similar). It seems a little self indulgent for the Soska twins to insert themselves into the film with so much build up to their roles but ultimately little point (other than maybe to establish Mary had reached some legendary following). I loved the relationship between Mary and the club owner filled with subtlety. The cinematography often showing large fields of view with de-emphasized backgrounds was nice.

Part of what made American Mary feel like it lacked focus to me was that I think the Mary character could have had more depth (it was like a one dimensional character study) - aside from torture there wasn't a big emotional aftermath to the rape (aside from narration that she quit school) or the character just slumping in a dark room for a few seconds in response to Nana's death felt like a missed opportunity. There never seemed to be much emotional buildup of catharsis, just a moody emphasis on gore. Maybe this was intentional to show Mary was a repressed mess looking for an outlet for denied self-expression (through surgery).

Overall American Mary was good but so much of it was the style, pacing, and Katherine Isabelle's baby faced intensity rather than the plot. It's an interesting film despite the flaws.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-04-13 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 10-04-13, 10:55 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by jacob_b View Post
In what way did they pay homage? Eli is a huge supporter and I think first noticed the Soska Sisters, but must not have paid attention to the end of the credit crawl.
The last credit is, "For Eli Roth".
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Old 10-05-13, 12:14 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
I found American Mary to be entertaining but also a little disappointing. Some of the body modification emphasis seemed a little pretentious playing up the "extreme" for shock rather than anything that felt sincere or relevant to the plot and sometimes it was hard to suspend disbelief (limb exchange?). The whole movie felt a lot like hanging out at a bar; aimless, slow, and raunchy. Not necessarily a bad thing - the methodical pacing created an odd sort of casual vibe to the proceedings that was enjoyable (someone compared this to American Psycho and I think the casual violence is similar). It seems a little self indulgent for the Soska twins to insert themselves into the film with so much build up to their roles but ultimately little point (other than maybe to establish Mary had reached some legendary following). I loved the relationship between Mary and the club owner filled with subtlety. The cinematography often showing large fields of view with de-emphasized backgrounds was nice.

Part of what made American Mary feel like it lacked focus to me was that I think the Mary character could have had more depth (it was like a one dimensional character study) - aside from torture there wasn't a big emotional aftermath to the rape (aside from narration that she quit school) or the character just slumping in a dark room for a few seconds in response to Nana's death felt like a missed opportunity. There never seemed to be much emotional buildup of catharsis, just a moody emphasis on gore. Maybe this was intentional to show Mary was a repressed mess looking for an outlet for denied self-expression (through surgery).

Overall American Mary was good but so much of it was the style, pacing, and Katherine Isabelle's baby faced intensity rather than the plot. It's an interesting film despite the flaws.
The fans love to see the Soska Twins in the movie, but this was the last film they are doing as actresses, which the fans are sad to hear.

I do agree, the death of her Nana just seemed like a small blimp and not much story. Might as well not have done that. But I guess it helped get her to want the strip club owner or something? Seemed like lazy writing on that part.

However, there was emotion at the beginning. Mary did what she needed for money and felt sick about it. The Soskas' just really need to focus on character development a bit more and start making us care and feel what the characters are feeling. Maybe in See No Evil 2?
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Old 10-05-13, 12:41 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Strong and interesting 1st half. Puzzling 2nd half (It felt like the movie was struggling to find some footing after the revenge had been completed) The 2nd half did give me my most favorite moment, however. And it was just the simple discussion of Billy explaining the "Simple" travels to Mary (Being a Northern Californian, I just loved hearing how "Close" it is to get to L.A. from up here )

Absolutely loved Beatrice! Hope she survived for a spin-off!

BTW, it was odd hearing "Ave Maria" twice in my challenge today. But American Mary was waaaay more superior than that gawdawful Barrio Tales.
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Old 10-05-13, 12:52 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I am glad everyone liked the pick... I watched part of this film last year but my wife fell asleep and I wanted o watch it for the challenge... I really dug it.. for those who liked the soskas check out Dead Hooker in a trunk... but be warned it is more low.budget and raw
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Old 10-05-13, 01:11 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by Darkgod View Post
I am glad everyone liked the pick... I watched part of this film last year but my wife fell asleep and I wanted o watch it for the challenge... I really dug it.. for those who liked the soskas check out Dead Hooker in a trunk... but be warned it is more low.budget and raw
Yeah American Mary is leaps and bounds better than Dead Hooker. I wrote a review on it in my list, but the way the characters are and some of the violence just wasn't my thing. Mary was good, just needs more character development. With this being only their 2nd movie, it's damn good. Can't wait to see what they do with See No Evil 2.
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Old 10-05-13, 01:32 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
I found American Mary to be entertaining but also a little disappointing. Some of the body modification emphasis seemed a little pretentious playing up the "extreme" for shock rather than anything that felt sincere or relevant to the plot and sometimes it was hard to suspend disbelief (limb exchange?).

Part of what made American Mary feel like it lacked focus to me was that I think the Mary character could have had more depth (it was like a one dimensional character study) - aside from torture there wasn't a big emotional aftermath to the rape (aside from narration that she quit school) or the character just slumping in a dark room for a few seconds in response to Nana's death felt like a missed opportunity.

Overall American Mary was good but so much of it was the style, pacing, and Katherine Isabelle's baby faced intensity rather than the plot. It's an interesting film despite the flaws.
Originally Posted by jacob_b View Post
I wrote a review on it in my list, but the way the characters are and some of the violence just wasn't my thing. Mary was good, just needs more character development.
I agree with the violence/extreme for shock thing and the characters being the way they are, that's what kept me from liking it as much as I could have. I did like the acting from Katherine Isabelle and the way it was shot and the unique concept on body modification, but it wasn't enough to get me to really enjoy it. I am in the minority here not liking it that much but I do think it's a well made film for those who like this kind of thing.
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Old 10-05-13, 01:43 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I didn't recognize Katharine Isabelle as being from Ginger Snaps (which I loved). She was looking a little bit like Zooey Deschanel to me in this one (which is a good thing).

Body modification creeps me out (especially the involuntary sort). I remember it really bothering me from Dee Snider's Strangeland ... I could handle a psycho kidnapping and killing, but giving guys Prince Alberts against their will just went over the line for me.

Fortunately American Mary doesn't wallow in excess like the Human Centipede movies. If anything, it played like a dark fairy tale/nightmare (with a sheen of unreality about the whole thing). Didn't care for the ending, but for the most part was interesting viewing. It's always nice to see movies trying to be about something a little different.

For anyone looking for another recent tale of a troubled young woman and surgery gone-wrong, check out "Excision".

BTW, Netflix was acting up while I was trying to watch this, repeatedly dropping out of HD to SD. I wonder if it was all you assholes trying to watch at the same time messing things up for me

Last edited by brainee; 10-05-13 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 10-05-13, 04:15 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Damn....forgot to watch Strangeland today. Funny thing is, I saw the poster as a kid and wanted to see it sooooo badly. Never knew when it came out and took me a while to finally watch it. That movie sadly doesn't hold up over time. Is good for at least one watch, though.
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Old 10-05-13, 07:29 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
I found American Mary to be entertaining but also a little disappointing. Some of the body modification emphasis seemed a little pretentious playing up the "extreme" for shock rather than anything that felt sincere or relevant to the plot and sometimes it was hard to suspend disbelief (limb exchange?).
This was my biggest problem with the film but I watched closely at the end of that scene, and it appeared that neither twin moved their left arms at all when they were leaving and getting into a car. So I accepted it a little more after that.

They seemed pretty wacky and extreme so what is the loss of the use of an arm when they wanted to be so "close" to each other? I believe there are a few people in this world crazy enough to think this way.
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Old 10-05-13, 08:46 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I really enjoyed this pick. The script was not perfect, but the acting and directing picked up the slack and made it something special. Definitely looking forward to their next project now.

I like how they took you to disturbing places without wallowing in it or making anything seem gratuitous.

On another note, this made for a great double feature with May.

Last edited by onebyone; 10-05-13 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 10-05-13, 09:51 AM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
They seemed pretty wacky and extreme so what is the loss of the use of an arm when they wanted to be so "close" to each other? I believe there are a few people in this world crazy enough to think this way.
I actually found this pretty believable, especially when considering elective amputation - which I remembered a mention of in an episode or 2 of Nip/Tuck. At least I could sort of understand the why of it.

Thinking more about the movie, I saw Mary's life as wort of a natural progression of things. Like after she had her revenge, there was no going back to her old life, so she followed down the path in front of her.

Also, I was sort of disappointed that the apparent build up between the Billy and Mary never really came to anything. Especially after Mary's bathroom scene, you sort of expect something.
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Old 10-05-13, 01:56 PM
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Re: "American Mary" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Originally Posted by brainee View Post
BTW, Netflix was acting up while I was trying to watch this, repeatedly dropping out of HD to SD. I wonder if it was all you assholes trying to watch at the same time messing things up for me
Same thing happened with me!
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